This is the second post in Baseball: The Beautiful Game Series. This post focuses not on a game or series of games, but a career. A baseball career that was iconic. This career belonged to none other than Cal Ripken, Jr.
The beauty of baseball is the history of the game. That history is held dear by casual observers, and students of the game alike. Ripken is an icon who is untarnished. His greatest achievement, the most consecutive games played, is a record I feel will stand for all-time. Ripken’s achievement transcends American sports. Few athletes maintain productive longevity. Ripken’s career spanned a total of 21 seasons. An 18-time all-star, 3,184 hits, and 431 HRs isn’t exactly an average player.
The Iron Man represents the uniqueness of baseball’s star power. Where other sports tend to rely on multiple stars to promote and attract the fan base, baseball can have one individual. Ripken is such an example. Baseball’s beauty comes from names like Ruth, Dimaggio, Jackson, Jeter, and Ripken, Jr. Regardless of whether or not you were an Orioles fan, you rooted for Ripken. We cheered when he surpassed Gehrig’s record. Ripken carried the sport of baseball on his shoulders and still stood up straight.
The beauty of the game is nothing without career’s like Ripken’s. To accomplish his achievements in sport today is rare. True, many athletes continue to play long after the spotlight. Few carry the respect, and the ability to keep fans watching. The Iron Man is a testament to the history of the game. He broke the record held by one of the immortals, Lou Gehrig. Let’s place some historical perspective on this. Gehrig is a baseball legend. Cal will forever be linked with Gehrig. Two immortals whose careers are mentioned in the same breath every time.
Players like Ripken are rare. The beautiful game of baseball brings these players into our living rooms, our tablets, in the newspapers, and into our memories. Thanks Cal.